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Kew Gardens beehive sculpture

Kew Gardens beehive sculpture

In line with our previous blog post about how bees communicate with eachother, we thought you might all be buzzing to hear of this new exhibition at Kew Gardens.

Designed by Wolfgang Buttress’s, the BeeHive in Kew Gardens is definitely a must see this winter. 


The Hive is a unique immersive experience, connecting you to real bees in a beehive at Kew. But how does it work? 

An accelerometer sits in a beehive at Kew. Accelerometers are vibration sensors. 

This accelerometer picks up vibrations from activity of the bees. And these vibrations are sent in real-time to The Hive. 


1,000 LED luminaires lining the interior of The Hive turn on and off in seemingly random patterns. But the lighting effects are driven by the vibrational signals from the accelerometer. So The Hive becomes a visual representation of the bee colony’s activity


A soundscape composed of bee sounds and an ensemble of musicians plays alongside the ever changing lights. 

Signals from the real beehive trigger noise gates at particular thresholds, activating sounds from a pre-recorded library. The library was created when musicians improvised to a live feed of beehive sounds in the key of C (not B!). This created a constantly changing and evolving symphony - a dialogue between bee and human.  

Bone conductors convert the sounds from the beehive into vibrations which, when touched with a wooden stick, travel directly to the skull. This experience gives you an insight into the secrets of bee communication.

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